Emergency procedures- time to review

At the beginning of the semester, it is a good time to re-familiarize yourself with the Emergency Procedures of Dawson College.

Please take a moment to review the College’s Emergency Procedures for situations, such as evacuations, fires, medical emergencies, lockdowns, toxic chemical or gas spills. All students and employees can also find this by signing into the MyDawson Portal (Omnivox), which features a red link to Emergency Procedures on the top left.

Background information and common questions regarding emergencies


Once the alarm sounds, every person in the College must exit the building by the closest exit as instructed by the monitors in the area, persons clearly identified by orange vests with yellow reflector stripes. 

We must evacuate out of the building and off the grounds to Place Alexis-Nihon (1500 Atwater Ave, Montreal, QC H3Z 1X5), our safe zone. Further instructions for re-entry into the building will be broadcast on the mall’s public-address system.

Management personnel not assigned to specific roles in the exercise (some are monitors) are to gather at the information desk in the Alexis-Nihon Business Tower (NOT the mall). The management team doubles as the crisis management team in an emergency so needs to gather in one place.

The College evacuates the building completely, even if the potentially dangerous situation is confined to a specific area, because we are entrusted with the safety of some 10,000 people.

Q: Who is responsible for making sure those with hearing impairments, visual impairments, mobility issues and in some cases, autism, panic disorder and anxiety get out safely?

A: The evacuation team is instructed to ensure that individuals they encounter during their rounds with mobility, medical or physical impairments who cannot be evacuated easily out of the building are guided to the nearest, safest elevator (all of which are covered by security cameras). In the event that one is not easily accessible, they would be brought to a nearby safe zone covered by one of the College’s video cameras, which are monitored in the security booth. The evacuation team ensures that someone stays with the person throughout the remainder of the evacuation exercise. The location and number of individuals who cannot be evacuated easily are communicated to security via radio and in the case of a real evacuation, emergency personnel would be dispatched upon their arrival to extract all these individuals. It is important to understand that in the event of an evacuation, all elevators are programmed to automatically descend to the ground floor in their respective wings and remain available for use only by emergency respondents.

We also work with the Student AccessAbility Centre to ensure that a designated employee is available in a pre-determined area to receive and reassure any individuals with issues, such as panic attacks, anxiety disorder, autism, at a pre-determined location.

Q: There are terrible bottlenecks at some street exits. Doesn’t this pose a danger?

A: The evacuation from the building is completed in well under the time allotted for a building of its size and our population. The extra minutes exiting the grounds do not pose an extra danger, according to the Fire Departments who provide us with feedback. Having some areas move slower (bottlenecks) actually prevents the crowd from stampeding.

Q: Not everyone knows what to do? How do we communicate to all students and employees what the procedures are?

A: The emergency procedures are available on the website and on the portal for students and employees. The most important thing to do in an evacuation exercise or in a real emergency is to:

  • follow the instructions of the monitors
  • cooperate
  • get off campus in an orderly way.

Q: Why don’t we practice lockdown or active shooter simulations?

A: Due to the potentially traumatic implications of active shooter or lockdown simulations, the College has decided not to run these sorts of exercises.

The recommended response is to:

  • Run (get out if it’s safe to do so),
  • Hide and in the most extreme scenario,
  • Defend Yourself.

The College continues to review and update its emergency procedures on an ongoing basis in consultation with our community and other institutions and relevant authorities. Any updates would appear on the web and Omnivox. Communication is key during an emergency. We will endeavour to provide as much information as we can in an emergency within the constraints of police and fire department directives.

We thank everyone for their continued collaboration and valuable feedback in maintaining a safe environment at Dawson.



Last Modified: January 14, 2020